In a comment to the local Business Media source, the Japanese ambassador to Georgia, Uehara Tadaharu, said that his country’s companies have an interest in the Black Sea port of Anaklia, currently under construction, as well as the existing ports of Batumi and Poti, also located on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.
Japan is aware of the logistical developments under way in Georgia, including road, rail and port, as Tbilisi seeks to develop its future role in a number of regional transport corridors. For Tokyo, these could form part of an economic transport corridor between Japan and Europe.
Both Batumi and Poti ports have announced development plans, whilst Anaklia port has been beset by various issues as it tries to establish itself as the Black Sea’s leading deep sea port.
In May this year, Batumi Sea Port Ltd hosted a delegation from China’s Lianyungang port, and the two ports signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
In May last year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Dimitri Kumsishvili, met with delegations of the Chinese port of Lianyungang and the COSCO shipping group. According to a ministry note, during the meeting the parties discussed the involvement of Georgia in the Belt and Road initiative, including the development of the so-called “central corridor”, which is reflected in the implementation of important transport infrastructure project, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway transport corridor.
Batumi has also been working on expanding trade links with Romanian and Bulgarian ports.
Last month, the local PACE Group has announced the start of the construction of a new terminal at the Black Sea port of Poti – the PACE Terminal Project.
A new ultra-modern terminal is now planned for construction. Located on 25 hectares of dedicated land, the new terminal will require dredging work to take place in the harbour to a depth of 12 metres, which will result in the sea port being able to accept vessels up to 253 metres in length and with a load capacity up to 50,000 tonnes.
In contrast, the Anaklia deep sea port project has ongoing challenges.
Anaklia Development Consortium won the state tender to construct the Anaklia Deep Sea Port and signed a deal with the government in 2016.
The consortium includes consists of TBC Holding from Georgia, SSA Marine (U.S.), British Wondernet Express working in Central Asia, and G-Star Ltd. from Bulgaria (the company has Georgian owners and seems to operate as an offshore investment vehicle). Conti International (U.S.) was a member of the original consortium, but in August this year local sources reported that Conti had decided to leave the consortium.
This year, the project has also experienced problems with raising finance, interest in the development of Poti port and the role of the Georgian government.